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By Gunnar Olsson

Humans depend on cause to contemplate and navigate the summary global of human family members in a lot an analogous means they depend upon maps to check and traverse the actual international. ranging from that straightforward remark, well known geographer Gunnar Olsson bargains in Abysmal an astonishingly erudite critique of how human notion and motion became deeply immersed within the rhetoric of cartography and the way this cartographic reasoning permits the strong to map out different people’s lives.A spectacular examining of Western philosophy, faith, and mythology that attracts on early maps and atlases, Plato, Kant, and Wittgenstein, Thomas Pynchon, Gilgamesh, and Marcel Duchamp, Abysmal is itself a minimalist consultant to the terrain of Western tradition. Olsson roams commonly yet regularly returns to the issues inherent in cause, to question the outmoded assumptions and stuck rules that considering cartographically includes. a piece of ambition, scope, and sharp wit, Abysmal will entice an eclectic audience—to geographers and cartographers, but in addition to someone drawn to the historical past of rules, tradition, and artwork. (20061024)

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Abysmal: A Critique of Cartographic Reason

Humans depend on cause to contemplate and navigate the summary global of human kin in a lot an identical method they depend on maps to review and traverse the actual global. ranging from that straightforward commentary, popular geographer Gunnar Olsson deals in Abysmal an astonishingly erudite critique of ways human proposal and motion became deeply immersed within the rhetoric of cartography and the way this cartographic reasoning permits the robust to map out different people’s lives.

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Up and down; front and back; left and right; head and feet; face and arse;22 in the middle the navel of the Vitruvian omphalos, pulsating origo of understanding. Traces of submerged beginnings, fragments recovered from the bottom of Apsu’s water-filled abyss. ” Dicaerchus, disciple of Aristotle and forerunner of Eratosthenes, called it diaphragma—a most appropriate term given the fact that the division into north and south was never an issue of sharp limits but more of a fuzzy zone, the metaphorical midriff of a world which breathes, laughs and suffers its hiccups.

W. : Cornell University Press, 1985), 33. ”28 Eratosthenes’ map was a computing device, his thinking syllogistic. So it can be told, the fascinating story of how the “Beta” translated the language of concrete geography into the idiom of abstract geometry, winding rivers of nature into straight lines of culture, the observatory on Mount Atabyrion the pivot of the world. In the words of one commentator, “a very striking achievement . . ”29 Not good enough, though, perhaps because Eratosthenes too readily succumbed to the Greek weakness for parallelism, in his case operationalized by means of straight lines and right angles, a coordinate net that makes it impossible to consider seriously the problem of the earth being round and the map being flat.

Time is the space that may not be seen. And as a mirage the old Sun God reappears again, albeit in new clothes and under another alias. Intersecting the main axes of Eratosthenes’ map were additional lines of latitude and longitude, for the sake of convenience drawn perpendicular to each other. This use of right angles automatically made the map itself rectangular, the known world believed to measure about 38,000 stadia from north to south, 78,000 stadia from east to west. Most importantly, the land mass was still depicted as an island surrounded by the apeiron of a continuous Ocean.

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